After reading other Blaugust entries from yesterday I discovered that I clearly missed the mark and should have been writing about the closure of MMOs. It was after all on the minds of a lot of people as Vanguard and Wizardry Online were both shut down. So because I missed out on that I’m making up for it today.
All MMOs go to heaven.
Basically what I’m saying is that all MMOs die eventually. We don’t want them to because as consumers they become our second lives. And in some cases they can be even better than our real lives. But the sad truth is that the people who run the games, the publishers and sometimes even the developers don’t see them like we do. All they see is dollar signs. And when those dollar signs start shrinking then it’s time to start the slow death of an MMO. Or maybe a quick death. Perhaps the biggest issue is that the people at the top, the people who would decide these things aren’t people like you and me. They don’t go home after a long hard day at the day job to log in to their favorite game. So equally they don’t know what it’s like to have it taken away.
I’ve been lucky in my gaming life. I’ve played MMOs off and on since 1999 and only had one shut down before I was finished with it. that was of course, City of Heroes. Even though at this point the game would have been 10 years old I still would have logged in regularly to play. I wasn’t done. I still had stories to tell, characters to play. The “sunset” (I hate that word) of City of Heroes was perhaps one of the hardest in the genre, though we must all acknowledge SWG players as well.
I understand why it hurt so much. It was from another generation. When MMOs were easier to play and less demanding on computers. It also allowed you to be anyone you wanted. Want to make a fish girl? Yep, you could do that. An alien? No problem. I very easily had more than 60 characters after years of deleting to make space for more. MMOs aren’t alt friendly anymore. They have more complex mechanics which don’t always appeal to everyone. City of Heroes had a much older audience than most MMOs. In one global channel I belonged to I was one of the youngest there. And I’ll be turning 30 in a few months.
What really amazes me about the shut down of City of Heroes though is that even after nearly 2 years the fans haven’t moved on. Oh sure, plenty of them have. I’ve seen CoH players in all the MMOs I’ve played. But, maybe because the most vocal people are those who haven’t moved on..it feels like a lot of people haven’t moved on. And that makes me sad. They’re missing out on so many great games, missing out on chances to play with their CoH friends again. And in many cases they are just downright bitter. And I feel even worse for those people. I only hope that one day they will find some joy in their lives once more as I can only assume that there is none now.
Dave Georgeson said it best at the MMORPG Panel at PAX East in 2013, “MMOs shouldn’t die.” It was then I learned that Dave Georgeson gets it. He understands what MMOs are to the players. And if he can get it then others can too. So maybe, just maybe there is hope for the industry after all.
And if not at least we know that all MMOs go to heaven.
This is the entry for Day 2 of the blogging initiative Blaugust. Find out more about it, and find other bloggers taking part by heading over to the Blaugust page on Anook.